Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Pine Park 5/6--Solitary Sandpiper

I was still hoping to find my target species, so, even though it was after 10 o'clock, cloudy, cool, I drove over to nearby Pine Park in Lakewood to see what I could see.

When I first went there with Greg he showed me a ravine which looked promising, since one could see the tree tops easily, possibly eliminating the dreaded "warbler neck." That was my first area of interest, but I soon saw a path that led down into the little ravine, where a stream flows and I walked down there.

The shorebirds I was hoping that the birds at Bunker Hill would turn out to be I found as I was standing on the footbridge over the stream where it widens to form a couple of ponds. Standing in the mud at the edge of the shore was a Solitary Sandpiper. It was a fair distance at first and I looked at it hard to make sure it wasn't a Spotted Sandpiper (both bob their tails) but since it was sans-spots and didn't have the little white spur on its shoulder I was confident in my ID. Then another one came along and chased the first. They flew around the pond a few circuits then retired to neutral corners, only to do it again. I guess they're solitary because they're anti-social.

I took some distant photos but I thought if I could find a vantage point in the back of the pond I might get a better shot. As I walked around I lost sight of either sandpiper. When I was at the back, almost exactly opposite my viewing point from the bridge, I came across one of them and it kindly stayed in one place long enough for me to get a good shot. I was pretty pleased with myself for spotting this bird--so please that I almost overlooked a Green Heron standing on a log right in front of me.
I walked up a gravel path and back onto the hill overlooking the ravine. The warbler theory works: I found a Northern Parula at the top of a tree which, had I been standing at its base level I'd never have seen. Considering that I started at the park mid-morning it was surprisingly active. I may have to add Pine Park to the rotation and give it a very early morning try. 
30 species
Canada Goose  2
Mallard  1     flying out of pond
Great Egret  1
Green Heron  1     
Turkey Vulture  2
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Solitary Sandpiper  2     
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
Downy Woodpecker  3
Northern Flicker  1
Warbling Vireo  1
Blue Jay  2
Fish Crow  1     Heard
Carolina Chickadee  2
Tufted Titmouse  2
White-breasted Nuthatch  1     Heard
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  10     Heard
Wood Thrush  1     Heard
American Robin  10
Gray Catbird  5
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  5
Ovenbird  1     Heard
Common Yellowthroat  3     around ponds
Northern Parula  1     In wisteria tree
Chipping Sparrow  5
Song Sparrow  1     Heard
Red-winged Blackbird  10
Common Grackle  15
Brown-headed Cowbird  1     Perched high in tree

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